A Stranger Comes to Town

Mr. Topsy-turvy - Roger Hargreaves

Well, I'm currently sitting on the Eurostar about 75 meters under the English channel, and since I am waiting for my computer to copy some files over I thought it might be a good time to read another Mr Men book. Actually, I thought that I had already read all of the Mr Men books that I have brought with me but when I was sorting through my luggage last night I found another one, which was quite fortuitous because it meant that I could read something a write a review while I am traveling to London. Even better, it turns out that even second class on the Eurostar has plugs for your laptop, and they even have free wifi on board – though like most free wifi connections I have encountered it is pretty slow (or it could just be my computer, it is over five years old now, though I really can't be bothered getting a new one).


Anyway, this little book is about how a strange man comes to town and leaves a bit of an impact. The thing with Mr Topsy Turvey is that he doesn't do things the way that many of us do things, and while at first he seems to infuriate people, he eventually has an effect upon them and when he mysteriously vanishes everybody discovers that they are now doing things a little topsy turvey. At first I thought that this book was a subtle (or not so subtle) dig at those of us who do things differently and trying to force us into a certain mould.


However, upon reaching the end of the book I suddenly discovered that this is not actually the case. Mind you there are probably some things that Mr Topsy Turvey does that we shouldn't imitate, such as getting off the wrong side of a train (if that is possible since these days we have automatic doors, and even those doors that aren't automatic won't open no matter how hard with try – unless of course we happen to have a key). However there are other things that we might do a little differently – such as sport, or parades. There seems to be this attitude in our society that we must all be interested in the same things, and if we are not interested in such things then there is something wrong with us. This was particularly the case at school where we would all be encouraged to play sport, and the people that did really well at sport tended to be the school heroes. It seems as if this development of a cult of personality around our sporting heroes certainly occurred at a young age, though it tended to have more to do with our peers as opposed to our teachers.


What if we don't like sport, or what if our heroes are a little different – say a scientist, or an science-fiction author. When I was younger we were considered to be a little strange – topsy-turvey if you will – however I have grown up I have seen how these dorky little hobbies that I had when I was a kid have started to move into the mainstream. In fact no matter where I wandered as I was travelling across Europe there always seemed to be a Warhammer store not to far away (not that I actually play Warhammer, but that is beside the point). Mind you, we may still be considered a little different, but like the effect that Mr Topsy-Turvey had on the town, our eccentricities have started to have an effect upon our culture as a whole (and even in some places, such as South Korea, there sporting heroes happen to be those who are really good at computer games).

Source: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1746162399